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Comments on timed essays - AP Englishsome comments on timed...

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AP English—some comments on timed essays When you write a formal essay outside of class, you can spend several hours on it. On an in-class essay (and on the AP test), you have only 40 minutes—or less. On two of the three AP Literature essays, you must study a poem or passage and then write an essay. On at least one of the three AP Language essays (usually on two, and occasionally on all three), you must read a passage as well as write an essay in response. To do well on these timed essays, you must figure out what the question demands, study a given passage in light of the question, plan your response, and then write as clearly and succinctly as possible. Reading the prompt Here’s one of the prompts from the 1988 Language AP: “Read the following passage in which Frederick Douglass recounts his emotions on escaping slavery and arriving in New York in 1838. Then write an essay in which you analyze the language—especially the figures of speech and syntax—Douglass uses to convey his states of mind.” If you’re answering this question, you need to be sure to focus on the language Douglass uses, not on the content of the passage. In analyzing the language, you may mention devices that the prompt does not (rhythm, allusions, and the like); you must discuss figurative language and syntax. (That’s right—if you don’t know what syntax means, you’re hurting on this question.) Here's a prompt from the 1990 Literature AP: "In the following soliloquy from Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part II, King Henry laments his inability to sleep. In a well-organized essay, briefly summarize the King's thoughts and analyze how the diction, imagery, and syntax help to convey his state of mind." Reading this prompt carefully, you know that you have four
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